HUG highlights – Trends and technology developments

14 August 2013

This year’s US Honeywell User Group (HUG) event took place in June. Darius Adamczyk reflected on his first 12 months as president and CEO at Honeywell Process Solutions while Jason Urso talked about technology developments.

Darius Adamczyk
Darius Adamczyk

Adamczyk began his presentation by reviewing his first year as CEO. He said: “It has been an exciting year. A lot has happened, particularly as we look at the industry, and the footprint of the energy space. There have been a lot of new developments, especially given the shale gas phenomena and the impact that this is having on the global signature of energy supply and demand.

“In the past year this has shifted that dramatically and really evolved where the energy sources are, who the exporters and importers are. It is an exciting and evolving marketplace.”

He went on to question whether the shale gar phenomena is going to remain a North American one, as it is today, or whether it was going to become a global phenomena. “We are still trying to answer this question,” he said.

Another relevant ongoing trend highlighted by Adamczyk is the search for new sources of oil and gas – deepwater exploration. “Many of our NOCs are exploring this and we are looking with interest at some of the developments from Petrobras, in Brazil. However, this is not just limited to South America – many of the regions are looking at oil exploration offshore and this is another area of interest for Honeywell Process Solutions.

Moving on to other industry sectors, Adamczyk went on to discuss pulp and paper. He said: “Although electronification of a lot of the newspaper and magazine industries has had a negative impact on this sector, this has been more than offset by the population growth and the daily need for paper. “There has been a shift – from the developed economies to the developing economies – and this is very closely tied to population growth. In areas where the population is growing, pulp and paper is still a robust market segment.”

With all the developments taking place, Adamczyk stressed the importance of ensuring that Honeywell is able to continue to satisfy customer needs in these new segments, such as unconventional gas, offshore development – areas where gaining access and providing solutions in ever more remote places is vital – remote operations, for example and being able to disintermediate the actual plant from the control room in a seamless and flawless manner.
The issue of cyber security is also high on the agenda for Honeywell. Adamczyk said: “This is critically important in our industry because many of the plants in operation make millions of dollars a day and ensuring they are not shut down due to cyber attacks is a key need for our customers.

“Unfortunately, the level of security awareness is not yet where it should be. There is not yet a predictive mindset, with many still being much more reactive. It is our opportunity, and challenge, to educate our customers on the importance of investing in cyber security.”

Asked what he has been most surprised by in the past year, Adamczyk said: “The most exciting thing is the speed at which the energy sector is evolving. When we think about LNG, for example, only two or three years ago the US was an importer and many of the terminals were import terminals. Today many of those terminals are being converted to export terminals – it is extremely dynamic. The North America Energy Independent is predicting complete independence by the year 2020. This is a very disruptive force, unlike anything that I have seen since the 1990s and the rise of the Internet. It is really changing the energy dynamics across the globe and is having a dramatic impact on investments – and where and how they occur.”

Adamczyk also talked about the company’s intention to expand its field instrumentation offerings. He said: “We are expanding of the portfolio itself and are continuing to invest in wireless offerings too. We already have many solutions, but, as part of our new product development efforts, wireless versions of devices are a standard part of our roadmap. However, because the current market is still predominantly wired, we do still, typically, launch wired versions of new products first.”

Orion advances
Speaking in more depth about some of the latest offerings shown at HUG, Jason Urso, chief technology officer for Honeywell Process Solutions, first mentioned Experion Orion, the latest version of the Experion DCS platform. He said: “We have Introduced a new operator console and our operator of the future vision.

“The Orion Console delivers better situational awareness and a sleeker more ergonomic design with two displays and a simple workstation space. We have also integrated new, advanced visualisation technology which provides capabilities such as panning and zooming – things that we all do today on our smart devices.” This is said to be a bonus when working with equipment that spans a large geographical area, like a pipeline or a set of wellheads. “Building a single graphic and being able to navigate across all that equipment is much simpler than having multiple graphics and having to keystroke each one of the steps to find a segment of a pipeline,” said Urso. “We have included tab displays and other advanced visualisation elements that make it easier for an operator to understand how the process is performing. We also integrated our mobile console which unchains operators from the workspace. We have found that even small amounts of mobility in the control room can significantly improve cognitive function.

“With our new operator console, which is well integrated with our one wireless network infrastructure, operators can easily monitor how the process is performing away from the console equipment and can also begin collaborative procedures such as flicking a graphic onto an overview for team discussions.

“Another pillar of our vision has been the introduction of the Experion Collaboration Station, a large screen graphic that allows for an interactive, multi-touch experience, ideal for collaborative procedures like situation assessments as well as shift handovers – any procedure where multiple people need to be involved.”

Virtualisation is also an important part of the Orion platform. Urso talked about the hundreds of systems the company now has online in a virtual configuration, delivering significant benefits to customers. One example he mentioned was for a 30-node system, implemented about 18 months ago, which has been reduced to just five virtual machine servers. “This is a significant reduction in the amount of physical equipment and space utilisation,” he said. “I believe that virtualisation has the potential to get to the heart of lifecycle costs and help deal with the challenge of rapid system changes.”

In his presentation, Urso also touched on the subject of cyber security. He said: “Today cyber security is at the foundation of everything we do at Honeywell Process Solutions. We introduced whitelisting, allowing users to lock down open systems and introduced a bold new step in cyber security, including ‘ secure communications’ which includes authentication and encryption across the network infrastructure. By combining security communications that protect the network with whitelisting technology we feel we are delivering a comprehensive set of cyber security capabilities built directly into the Experion platform.”

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